Thursday 22 March 2018

Alonso surprised at Malaysian win

FERRARI'S Fernando Alonso scored a dramatic victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday, denying Sauber's Sergio Perez a first Formula One triumph in a race turned on its head by the weather.

The race started in torrential rain and was stopped for 51 minutes after eight laps, but Alonso took charge on its resumption to register a shock 28th career victory in a car that had been outpaced in qualifying.

"A big surprise today, the win," said championship leader Alonso. "Our goal was to score as many points as possible. An unbelievable result, a great job from the team."

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton repeated his third-place finish from the opening race of the season in Melbourne last weekend, with Red Bull's Mark Webber in fourth and Kimi Raikkonen fifth in his Lotus.

Melbourne winner Jenson Button and world champion Sebastian Vettel both suffered mid-race collisions with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan and finished outside the points.

Alonso started the race in eighth place but worked his way up to fifth by the red flag, passed Webber after the resumption and capitalised on a well-timed pit stop to get past Hamilton.

The double world champion overtook Mexico's Perez on the 17th circuit of the 56-lap race but, after initially dropping back, the Sauber closed to within a second of Alonso near the end.

His dreams of becoming the first Mexican to record a Formula One win since 1970 were shattered with five laps remaining, however, when he ran wide on turn 13 and slipped too far behind Alonso to catch him.

The Mercedes duo of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg flattered to deceive, struggling all day in the conditions to finish 10th and 13th respectively after looking quick in qualification.

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